SAP archiving disasters and how to avoid them

Tuesday, November 7th, 2023

Proceed team

In the realm of SAP data archiving, approximately 10% of the projects that come our way are in response to previous challenges. These are the scenarios where things have gone awry, and our expertise is sought to put them back on track. Today, we’ll dive into three examples, sharing them with you to help you learn from these experiences and steer clear of similar pitfalls in your future endeavors.


Accidental data deletion:

In a significant instance of data vulnerability, a major FTSE 100 company decided against using a secure content server for their archiving. This decision proved costly during routine maintenance when a disaster occurred—data was accidentally and permanently deleted. Business users attempting to access their archived data were shocked to find it had disappeared. Efforts to recover from backups failed, leading to a severe loss of valuable data.

To make matters worse, an investigation uncovered an unforeseen mistake: the archive included data from as recent as one year old. This resulted in the loss of both historical and active data, leading to serious consequences, including possible legal penalties and the requirement to report the data loss to regulatory authorities.

This experience highlights the need for thorough testing, including stress testing, and careful setup to ensure smooth backup and restore operations. It also emphasises the importance of involving the right stakeholders from the beginning to validate the archived data. While the technical aspect is essential, the majority of the project’s importance lies in the business domain, ensuring the correct data is archived.


Accounts payable blunder:

A county council’s attempt to implement archiving for accounts payable in SAP turned into a nightmare due to the loss of critical text data associated with SAP transactions. This lapse rendered them incapable of retrieving payment instructions for a significant portion of their suppliers. Proceed was called in to rectify the situation, highlighting the crucial role of user acceptance testing (UAT) in system implementation projects.

UAT serves as the final check before system deployment, ensuring that it not only functions but also aligns with business needs. In this case, diligent UAT could have uncovered the absence of vital text data, preventing months of chaos and financial risks for the council.

This incident underscores the significance of meticulous planning, thorough testing, and proactive issue identification in IT projects, especially archiving.


Duplicated archives chaos:

In another FTSE 100 company, the archiving process went haywire as it ran multiple times without proper oversight. This led to excessive duplication, confusing the SAP system and causing significant data retrieval delays. This led to excessive duplication, confusing the SAP system making it impossible to retrieve the archived data.

Fixing the issue was a complex and time-consuming task, akin to using tweezers to untangle a web of duplicated archives. It took months and incurred considerable costs. Data retrieval requests, including audits, were severely delayed until the duplication problem was resolved.

This incident underscores the critical importance of thorough documentation, and careful archiving procedures to prevent such data management complications.


Key takeaways:

  • Conduct thorough testing, including stress testing, to identify and address potential issues.
  • Engage experienced professionals and relevant stakeholders from the outset to validate and guide the archiving process.
  • Implement user acceptance testing to ensure your system functions as intended, including data retrieval and recovery procedures.
  • Prioritise comprehensive documentation to facilitate knowledge transfer and ensure the archive’s longevity.

Remember, the archive will continue running for years, and it’s crucial that future team members understand how it functions. Whether you’re dealing with an internal or third-party solution, a thorough grasp of the process, meticulous testing, and comprehensive documentation are your best allies in preventing archiving nightmares.


Starting an archiving project?

At Proceed, we’re committed to helping you navigate the complexities of archiving projects. We offer free advice and guidance to ensure you start on the right track. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for expert assistance and support. Your success is our priority, and we’re here to help you avoid the pitfalls and challenges that can arise in the world of data archiving.

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